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Bush to begin meetings in Shanghai

Oct. 17, 2001 at 7:27 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Oct. 17 (UPI) -- President Bush arrives in Shanghai Thursday for the Asia-Pacific economic summit as he embarks on his first overseas trip since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and is expected to promote global trade and encourage support for the U.S.-led campaign against international terrorism.

"Later today I fly to Shanghai to meet with leaders from all around the Far East, leaders whose nations touch the Pacific, including Russia and China," Bush said Wednesday in Sacramento.

"We'll be strengthening our cooperation in the war on terror. We'll strengthen the economic ties that bring growth and hope to the entire world," Bush told California business leaders during a stopover Wednesday. "The terrorists attacked the World Trade Center, and we will defeat them by expanding and encouraging world trade."

President Bush leaves the United States as the nation struggles with the terrorist-related deaths of as many as 6,000 people in Washington, Pennsylvania and New York, and numerous anthrax-tainted letters, one of which reached lawmakers on Capitol Hill. For the first time this week, administration officials have publicly referred to the contaminated letters as a bioterrorist attack.

"We are fighting for the security of our people, for the success of our ideals, and for stability in large parts of the world," Bush said. "We fight evil people who are distorting and betraying a great religion to justify their murder. Our cause is just. We will not tire. We will not falter. And, my fellow Americans, we will not fail," Bush said.

Twenty-one nations, including the United States, are to be represented in the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation. They represent approximately 2.5 billion people and a combined gross domestic product of more than $18 trillion and 47 percent of the world's trade.

The president told Asian media organizations on Tuesday he looked forward to his meeting and establishing a relationship with Chinese President Jiang Zemin. Bush meets with Zemin first after landing in Shanghai, a city that the Chinese government desperately wants to showcase as an international financial center.

Zemin and Bush have never met but were locked in a stand-off earlier this year when a U.S. EP-3 surveillance plane collided with a Chinese fighter whose pilot was killed in the incident. The American flight crew was detained for 11 days before being released. The plane was dismantled and shipped back to the United States. Bush said he wanted to talk about missile defense and human rights with the leader.

President Bush also looked forward to meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong-il to discuss his country's relations with South Korea. In June 2000, South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and North Kim Jong-il met for a historic summit in Pyongyang to discuss reunification on the Korean peninsula. Kim Jong-il had promised to Seoul for continued talks with South Korea, a pledge he, so far, has not kept.

Bush also said he hoped to meet again with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi with whom he has a scheduled bilateral meeting. Bush met with Koizumi at Camp David in June where the two leaders discussed the near-collapse of Japan's financial markets with more than $1.3 trillion in bad loans floundering in Japanese banks. Then Koizumi sought Bush's support in forcing commercial banks to write off their bad debts in an effort to repair Japan's wounded economy.

He also has scheduled sessions with Russian President Vladamir Putin. Bush and Putin have been trying to work out their differences on missile defense.

Bush early in his administration said he wanted to re-tool the framework of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty signed in 1972 and begin development of a missile shield that could intercept accidental launches or launches from rogue nations.

The president's excursion was trimmed back from 10 days to four days after he cancelled stopovers in Tokyo, Beijing and Seoul in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks and the U.S. military attacks against Taliban targets in Afghanistan.

© 2001 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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